24 Dec 2017
The birth of Jesus Christ was eagerly anticipated by Simeon. He was longing to see the one who will bring salvation and comfort to all of Israel. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus- the one who will save man from his sins. He did not come to save us physically, emotionally, financially or politically. His work was to save us spiritually- from our sins- that we may be reconciled with God our Creator. He was thus born as man so that He may die on the cross for man. By His stripes (he was whipped) we are healed. By His death, we get life eternal. Come and receive this gift of Christmas into your heart. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from your sins! Listen to this sermon and may you find eternal life through Him!
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Christmas is worth waiting for, because it's a day where people will receive a Christmas gift. Maybe you're waiting for the Christmas gift from your parents, from your husband, from your wife, because Christmas is a time for giving and receiving.
My youngest son Matthias, he is looking forward to his Christmas, he was looking forward to his Christmas gift. For many months he has been choosing his Christmas gift. Every time we go to the shopping mall or we passed by toy stores, he will say, daddy, I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this, he doesn't know that will make daddy broke. So I say no, no, no, no, you got to select your Christmas gift. Well, finally he decided on his Christmas gift, not one but three, but they are small things.
The first is one Lego fish, just one, not all alright, just one. Second thing he wanted was this cobra, he doesn't care about the guy, but it comes as a set, I have to get it as a set and the third what he wanted was a zombie shark.
Now, he was waiting eagerly for Christmas and he regularly asks me, daddy, have you gotten it, where is it, have you bought it, where is it and so I said he was waiting because he has now received it already. Actually, to be accurate, he did not receive it, he stole it. Two days ago, he climbed onto a chair, opened up the cupboards, ransacked my cupboard and grabbed his toys with his own hands. I asked him, Matthias, why did you do that. Because he said, Christmas is too long, I cannot wait anymore, I cannot take it already and so he stole the Christmas gift.
You know, we are all waiting somewhat for something on Christmas. Christmas is a season of giving, because it represents God's gift to man. All our giving today reminds us how God has given us the ultimate gift. Now, you look at my son's toys and you say, that's really not what I want and you say, those are cheap stuff, relatively inexpensive stuff. But God's gift to us is absolutely what you need and God's gift to us comes at a great price that all the money in the world can never buy.
So this morning I want to share with you a gift God has given to you that you really need and you can't earn for yourself. You say, what is this gift? In two words, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for the season. He's the gift from God to man. Jesus is the gift God has given to you.
You ask, why do I need Jesus? Who is Jesus? I'm glad you ask and so let's learn why you need Jesus from the Bible. So let me just begin with a word of prayer. I pray that you will really understand the meaning of Christmas.
Dear God, we thank You that we can look into the Bible and learn about Your gift to us. I pray You will help all of us here to understand why You have given Jesus Christ. Please give us all a humble, teachable spirit today and in Your mercy help us to come to receive this gift of Jesus Christ into our lives, thereby blessing everyone here with a wonderful relationship with You, we ask this in Jesus Name.
Let's look at a story in the Bible. It's an encounter between a very young baby Jesus and a very old man named Simeon. The Bible tells us in Luke chapter 2, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. He's an older man, he probably looks like this, I do not know, but you can probably call him uncle Simeon and Simeon had a wonderful revelation from God. God told him that he will not see death, he will not die until he sees the Saviour for Israel. So he would come to see Jesus before he died, that's his bucket list if you like and the Bible tells us that this man was waiting for the consolation of Israel. So Jesus is the consolation of Israel.
Jesus is here for a people who are grieving and sorrowful. In fact, Simeon later on says that I've seen your salvation. Now you say, what's the problem with Israel? Why do they need consolation, why do they need salvation? Some of you have studied history before and you say, I know the reason, because Israel at that time was not their own, they were ruled by others. They were ruled by the Roman Empire, their king is Caesar, they have a Roman governor and they have to give taxes to Caesar.
So Jesus is here to save them from Rome, He would be a political Saviour. But when you read the Bible, Jesus didn't carry a sword, He didn't have an army, He didn't fight any Roman soldier. So Jesus did not come to be a political Saviour. He came to be a Spiritual Saviour.
The Bible says He came to save His people from their sins. He was not saving them from an outward difficulty, Jesus is here to save their souls. You say what is sin, sin is rebellion against God, our soul hates God and will not obey God. It's a spiritual disease, that cuts us off from God and the problem is all of us have sinned.
In fact, all of you are born in sin and live in sin. I'm a pastor, but I'm a sinner. I sin all the time because that's what I am born with. I lie, I'm proud, I'm bitter, I've wrong thoughts, all of us know exactly what that means. You don't have to learn that because we are all born in sin.
You say, I have never killed anyone, I have never raped anyone, I'm a decent chap in society. Well, compared one with another, you might look like a decent person, but if we stand before God, we are all guilty as charged, sinners in rebellion against God.
If all your thoughts are flashed out on youtube, you will not say, I'm not a sinner and that's what Jesus came to save us from, save us from our sins, that is the real problem for humanity.
Besides being a pastor and a sinner, I used to be a doctor and one of the things that we see in medical practice is ear problems. Some people come to the doctors with this problem, I can't hear very well, it seems a bit blocked. So what do they want the doctors to do, they want doctors to give some ear drops, drop into the ears and somehow relieve that block, but the doctors don't do that all the time, but all the time they will have to look into the ear, so we use a special instrument and we check if there's a lot of er hee sai, haha, we call it ear wax. So you check the ear for ear wax.
Well sometimes there is and you remove the ear wax and they hear very well. But sometimes, no, something is wrong there. Now, what does the doctor check next ? Besides checking your ear, where else will you check, you want to guess? Check nose. Why, why check nose, ear, nose throat, so check nose then check throat? Aunty Linda's brother is an ENT doctor, but she is absolutely…no one is sure ? She's absolutely right! After you check the ear, if it's a persistent problem, you have to check the nose. You say why! When I sneeze, the mucus doesn't come out here what! Because there really is a tube that connects the nose, the back of the nose with the ear! You know that right. That's why when you travel on the plane, you have ear block, what do you do, you yawn or you squeeze your nose and you blow and you can sometimes feel the ears, pop, because there's a tube that connects your ear and the back of your nose.
Now sometimes, something goes wrong at the back of the nose, there's a kind of a growth that blocks the tube and so the tube is now blocked, filled with fluid and water and that's why you have the symptoms of loss of hearing and the sensation of blockage. Now this is a very well-known cancer in Asia. How many of you here are Chinese? So few meh, can, how many of you are Cantonese? You better watch out, you better not cry because it is a very common cancer amongst Cantonese.
We call it nasopharyngeal carcinoma or nose cancer, Bi Yan Ai and so this grows at the back of your nose, you look at your nose, not outside but at the back of it. It grows there and blocks the tube that leads to the ears and you don't know there's a cancer growing at the back, until the symptoms come up, sometimes in the ears. So when you see the doctor, if the doctor only gives you ear drops, he's a lousy doctor because the deeper problem and the more dangerous problem is not looked at.
Maybe this morning you are struggling in life, you are not really joyful because you're struggling with the meaning and purpose of life. You struggle with fears and anxieties and worries, you're upset at the way you're addicted to wrong practices and sinful habits and so you're actually miserable, depressed. Empty even though you have a lot and you say to yourself, I have ear block, so let me get me some ear drops, get me a better job, more money, let's buy a new car, get a new house, find a new girlfriend, boyfriend,find a new hobby and you try to get all these ears drops to alleviate your symptoms and so you have been trying that for many, many years.
This morning I want to tell you, your real problem is not right there in your ears, your real problem is the disease of your soul. You see, in your soul, there is a spiritual cancer called sin that blocks up your life and chokes up any possible relationship with God and you know, God is like that good doctor, He's not here just to treat your symptoms. He gave Jesus to cure you of your spiritual cancer and that's why Jesus came to save us from our sin. It's what you need folks, you don't need another car, you don't need another house, what you need is God, what you need is to be saved from your spiritual cancer of sin.
I don't think everyone of you literally has ear problems, but everyone of us have this soul cancer called sin and that's why you need Jesus and Simeon saw all that and realised that Jesus will save His people from their sins, He's the consolation, He's the salvation. Now you would expect that the Saviour is somewhat impressive and somewhat like a knight in shining armour. But God's Saviour came in a very small and humble package. He's only six weeks old, 40 days to be exact and when uncle Simeon picked up Jesus, it's like a small little baby!
This baby will be the Saviour, this baby came from a very humble background, parents are very poor. Carpenter the father. When He was born, there was no place for Jesus to be born, can't even find KK hospital and Jesus, grew up very poor. He did say, foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head and what's worse is that He ended His life with a horrible death.
It was an absolutely tragic death, Simeon knew that, even before Jesus will grow up, Simeon already told His mom Mary and the sword will pierce through your own soul also Mary, your heart will be so pained to see what your baby boy will go through in life. How did Simeon know that ? I think he studied the Bible, he studied the prophecies of the Bible, he studied about how the Saviour would suffer grief and sorrow, be pierced and be crushed.
Story is told of a village chief, the village is going through great famine, no food. In these times of desperation people began to steal food from one another. Village chief knows that if this continues the whole village and the whole society will fracture because nobody can trust anybody. So he laid down a severe law, anyone caught stealing will be whipped until he dies.
There was no case of stealing for a while. But one day, a young woman is caught, so she is hailed or hauled to the middle of the village with her hands tied to a pole. The punisher comes with a whip, about to whip this girl. The village chief arrived, took a look and to his horror, it was her, his own daughter. What will he do ? To whip her, she will die, to free her, there will be no justice and so the chief decided to spread forth his arms and covered himself, draped himself over his daughter and said, you can start now. The punisher whips with all his might, over and over and over again, till the village chief died.
In a sense, that's what the Saviour came to do for you. We are all guilty of breaking God's laws. We all deserve judgment and punishment in hell for evermore. But the amazing love of God is that He will allow His Son to be born as man that He will spread His arms and die on the cross to bear our sorrows. You see, it was not for His own sins, but for ours, this is the love of God.
You see God treats sin, very, very seriously. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. Death is not just physical death, where we lose consciousness. This refers to spiritual separation from God forever, but the Good News of Christmas, is that the Son of God is born into this world, that He might be the gift of eternal life to us. My friends, this is the gift of Christmas.
Maybe another way of looking at this verse is simply this, life is short 80, 90 years, it's over. Death is sure, all of us will meet with death one day and the reason is because there is sin in this world, we are all sinners, we are all corrupted by sin and that's why we will die. But the Good News of the Bible is that Jesus is the cure, the Saviour died for your sins.
When I was a doctor there are patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma who didn't want to be treated. They say, I don't believe I have this cancer, you show them the picture, but they say, I don't believe it's mine. Some of them say, yes, I have cancer but I don't trust you, I will go to other kinds of treatment, they don't trust the doctor, they won't come to the doctor and so many of them tragically suffer the growth of the cancer and eventually die.
You know, knowing that you have sinned and knowing that there's a doctor is not enough, you got to believe the doctor. This morning, you hear about your sin, you hear about Jesus, that's not enough, you got to believe in Jesus. It's like someone gave you a gift, you look at the gift, but until you receive it, it is not yours.
So today, what do you need to do to receive Jesus, to save you from your sins ? Well, sadly not many of you would want to believe in Jesus, I hope there will be many, but I fear that there maybe some who say, I still do not want Jesus. You know, even that Simeon has anticipated. It's shocking that when Jesus is here to save Israel, not all would trust in Him. There will be some who will fall and some who will rise, some will believe, some will reject. My friends, there's no neutrality, you either receive or you won't and so here is a choice, will you receive Jesus. You say, how do I receive Jesus ? It's not complicated.
The Bible says in John chapter 1, but to all who did receive Him, who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become the children of God. How do you receive, you believe in Jesus. What do you mean by believe Jesus? That means you look to Christ, you look to Jesus to save you from your sins. You are desperate to know that you are a sinner who is separated from God and who is heading towards hell and you know you can't do anything to save yourself and you acknowledge that there's no one else in this world who can save you from your sins and you look and you depend on Jesus Christ alone, that He died on the cross to pay for all your sins and rose again.
And the Bible says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. It's right here. This is a gift, it's not something you have to earn, it's not something you have to accomplish, it's already paid for. Christ has already died and He calls you today, stop rebelling against Me, turn from your sin, believe in what My Son has done for you.
Some of you may say, I don't want to believe this Jesus, I don't want to be a Christian, because Christianity is angmoh, it's for the Westerners. Hey, but do you realise there's no angmoh here. Jesus came for Israel, but He did not only come for Israel. Simeon knew that, Simeon knew that Jesus was a light also to the Gentiles. Gentiles are people who are not Jews, Chinese, Malay, Caucasians, Koreans, whatever. Because Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is the Good News, folks, you are part of the world. And Jesus came to take away the sin of the world. I pray this Christmas will be a day you know you need this gift, you will humble yourself before God and receive this gift.
Let's bow for a word of prayer. All of us struggle with a spiritual cancer called sin. This sin causes you to be separated from the your Creator, from your God. That's why today, you struggle with emptiness, meaninglessness, fears and worries and sins and anxieties. That's why one day you will end up in hell because we are sinners before a Holy God. But God is a God of love, He gave His only Son to be born into this world as a humble baby that He may die and pay for your sins.
Life is short, death is sure, sin the cause, Jesus the cure.
This morning, would you come to the Great Physician to be cured from your sin. My friends, I invite you this morning to repent of your sins, to admit your guilt before God, to acknowledge that you can't do anything to atone or to pay for your sins and to rely, depend totally on Jesus Christ. There is no neutrality here, you can either believe or you will reject, you can rise or you will fall.
Jesus Himself said I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me. I beg you this morning, I pray to God this morning that you will receive the real gift of Christmas. Father we thank You this morning, please, bless everyone seated in this hall, we thank You that what we hear today is a message from Your Bible and so we are praying that Your Holy Spirit will work in our hearts to receive the message of the Bible, may Your Holy Spirit bless everyone here, I pray You will bring many to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, Your Son. O, God save Your people from our sins, so that You may be glorified in our salvation, thank You in Jesus Name, Amen.
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